Crappy Bronzing Revisited

The 2 Fish Start

Sometimes you start the game with 2 (or more) shore fish near your TC that can be serviced by one fish pit. This is considered a good spot, and calls for a departure from the granary-first start, which should be used about 90% of the time Inland. With coastal maps, you can use the2 fish start more often.
The 2 fish start involves building a fish pit first instead of a granary, even if there are only 2 fish and no other resources (not even a straggler tree) near the 2 fish. With this start, you can get some amazing bronze times (read low to mid 12s), even with slow civs.
a. Why build a food pit by 2 fish even though it is only 500 food?
Compared with 6-7 berries (900-1050f), 500 food certainly seems a waste of 120 wood. The fish are bound to run out faster, and you’ll have to find another 120 wood for a granary or second food pit rather quickly. The only thing that the fish pit has going for it is that shore fish is almost twice as fast as berries (0.8 fish/second v 0.45 berries/second).
Now, the way I look at it is not that shore fish are two times faster – rather, I think of it as one fisherman being equal to two berrymen. Now, to maintain a steady flow of villagers you need about 6 (actually 5.5, but villagers don’t come in halves) villagers on berries. So if you have 3 fishermen, you basically have got three free villagers. Villagers 4, 5 and 8 no longer have to go on berries and can be assigned to other duties instead. So pitting by 2 fish is almost equivalent to starting the game with 6 villagers instead of 3.
Don’t just treat shore fish as an extra food source. Treat them as extra villagers.
b. Why build a food pit by 2 fish even though it is within walking distance from TC?
Well, this depends on how far the fish are from your TC. In general, shore fish 7 tiles away from your TC (with 1 tile = 1 small wall) is gathered at the same rate as berries. This maximum distance increased to 10 tiles for Assyrian and Yamato. Above this break-even point, berries are actually faster. So anything above 7/10 tiles, and it would make sense to build a fish pit first.
Three free villagers is nothing to be sneezed at. The advantage gained from freeing up villagers 4, 5 and 8 from having to go on berries translates into a faster first wood pit (usually by 12th villager), and if that first wood pit is by a sweet spot, tool and bronze times are going to be even faster.
For this reason, I will build a fish pit first by 2 fish, even if they are only 6 tiles from TC.
c. If I can fish pit with just 2 fish, why not with 1?
You run out the first fish too quickly, and you need at least 3 fishermen to be able to maintain a steady flow of villagers. 3 fishermen on one spot means you run out of fish by your 9th villager. 2 fish is the bare minimum.
d. The 2 fish start
Villagers 1-3 (after building a house) build a fish pit by 2 fish, as long as they are at least 6 tiles away from TC. Start fishing. Note that withShang, you can get away with only 2 villagers on fish. Villager 3 can also go on wood.
Villagers 4-5 go onto the nearest straggler tree.
Villager 6 builds house and explores as usual.
Villagers 7-11 go on wood. Around this time, one of your shore fish will run out. Grab 2 fishermen and assign them to wood duty. You’ll have 9 woodcutters, 1 fisherman and 1 explorer at this stage. Remember to build a house with your 10th villager.
Villager 12 goes on wood. By this time you should have 120 wood for a wood pit. Place it next to a sweet spot if at all possible.
Villagers 13-14 chop wood. You may suffer a slight disruption in food production (meaning no food comes in) for about 10-20s but you should have another 120 wood for a granary or second food pit by this time. Build a granary/second food pit. 
Congratulations, you have your second food building and a wood pit by your 14th villager. In contrast, a granary-first start only has a wood pit and first food building by 15th villager.
e. What do you do if the 2 fish are 5 or less tiles from your TC?
Don’t fish pit. Treat them as (slightly faster) extra berries. Put 4 villagers on fish (thereby giving you the equivalent of 6 berrymen, and 2 free villagers) and then use your first 120 wood to build a wood pit the moment you find a forest (if it’s a sweet spot, all the better). Your fish should run out around the time you build your 13th villager but by that time you should have gathered enough wood to build a granary.
This is still very good – by your 13th villager, you should already have both a wood pit AND a granary. Compare this to the 15th villager for thegranary-first start. The added advantage of doing this over the 2 fish start is that if your early wood pit (your first building) is also next to a sweet spot … there’s going to be no stopping you (unless you screw up).
f. What if I get 3 fish or more?
What exactly is it are you so worried about?:) Just play it like you have only 2 fish, but this time your fish lasts longer:) Remember, you only need 3 fishermen – don’t assign more fishermen just because you got more fish – you can assign more later once you get your early wood pit/granary.

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